Neill Collins says his Barnsley players not reacting to stop the rebound from a last-gasp penalty was more disappointing than the award of the spot-kick, but urged his side to bounce back quickly from Bolton’s late leveller.

The Reds went 2-0 up through John McAtee and Donovan Pines but their promotion rivals pulled one back then were given a penalty for a foul by Josh Earl which Liam Roberts saved only for Randell Williams to score the rebound in the 98th minute.

Head coach Collins told the Chronicle: “I have not seen it again but by all accounts it was penalty. What was most frustrating was that the referee was closest to it and didn’t flinch but the linesman who was further away gave it.

“The referee let the game get out of hand a few times. We can’t get too worried about the officials. We can take a lot of positives but we need to do some things better as well and learn harsh lessons.

“What was more frustrating was our goalie, as he had done two or three times previously, saved us but no one was even close to getting the rebound. That was vitally frustrating. Despite the disappointment of the penalty, you still have an opportunity especially with Robbo in goal.

“That was more frustrating than the penalty award itself.”

The result leaves the fourth-placed Reds three points behind second-placed Bolton with a game in hand.

Collins said: “It’s disappointing after being 2-0 up and giving a fantastic performance up until the 80th or 85th minute.

In Text Promo Image

“We’re disappointed because we wanted to celebrate the three points. For large parts of the game, I thought we deserved it. We’re up against a really good side – there’s a reason we are neck and neck in the league – and once they made it 2-1 we could have handled it a little better.

“We have to be really careful that we don’t feel that disappointment too long because we have 11 games left.

“No matter what happened tonight it would have been close at the top. If we won I would have probably said it made it even tougher with expectations raised. If we had lost we wouldn’t have been out of it but it’s a draw and we move on.”

Did Barnsley sit back too much late on?

Collins said: “We put so much energy into the first 70 or 80 minutes. We had players closing down all over the pitch. It took its toll slightly and we need to manage the game better.

“We’re playing against a good side who didn’t give up. We lost the first goal a bit too early when we were in the ascendancy and it came out of nothing to give them hope.

“The back three have only played three or four games together and this was a different challenge against four or five top strikers. They just kept bringing them on.”

McAtee, who was brought in for Sam Cosgrove, ended a 12-game goalless run with the opener.

Collins said: “It was a late decision. It was difficult to leave Sam out. But we saw how Macca did against Bolton in the previous fixture. He rewarded us with his performance and goal. We will have lots of different types of games and we will need different players to do different jobs.”

McAtee added: “The lads are a bit down, especially after being 2-0 up and we felt we were in control. The way the game ended deflated the lads a bit. But the message was we haven’t been beaten even though it felt like a loss. It’s very disappointing but we have to keep spirits high and put it right on Saturday.”